Once upon a time, I was a woman whose life revolved around what to wear each day.
I mean, not literally, but I took a lot of pride in how I looked.
I wanted my work outfit to say: “Take this woman seriously!” I wanted my date night look to say, “Take her home, husband!” I wanted my casual look to say, “She might be heading to yoga class, (she’s probably not) but dang, she looks so casually chic.”
I put a lot of effort into these “casual chic” outfits.
And then I found myself 9 months pregnant in a Washington, DC summer. I could barely find a circus tent to wrap around my sweaty, swollen, enormously pregnant body. Clothes became a utility—something I needed to function—rather than the ultimate expression of who I was. It felt exasperating to get dressed (I remember tears)—but it also felt freeing to finally accept that the way that I looked didn’t always have to mean so much.
Pregnancy taught me a lot. Among the lessons: To let go of worrying about what other people thought about how I looked.
But dealing with postpartum body image was the hardest part.
After my baby was born, NONE of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit. When I wore maternity clothes, people would ask when my baby was due. (Um, negative 3 months ago, thanks for asking.)
Eventually, I lost 50 pounds of baby weight I had gained with each of my pregnancies—3 times.
But even when the pregnancy weight slowly came off, I found that the woman inside was different, too—
I didn’t want to wear uncomfortable outfits just to impress people.
I didn’t want to keep tiny clothes that might fit “one day.”
I didn’t want to keep bikinis and low rise jeans and other clothing that actually made zero sense for my new momlife. (It’s cool if you want to, but I was just done.)
My lifestyle changed, too—
I started working from home.
I started playing on the floor more.
I started carting babies all over town.
But inside my closet, dressers and drawers—my clothing was haunted me.
So during our most recent move, I decided I had enough. I was done with literally dragging along my previous carefree, kid-free life around in the form of a wardrobe that just didn’t work for my life. It was time to get rid of the clothes I accumulated since college, in a big purge, to embrace the life that I had now.
I was ready to say goodbye to clothes that fit me literally 3 lifetimes ago.
I ditched the dress that I need to lose 30 pounds to wear.
I got rid of the tops that make me feel self-conscious about my maternal belly.
I tossed the pajama pants that dug into my hips.
I gave away outfits that reminded me that I haven’t had an office job in 5 years. (I work from home.)
I ditched the “fun, fearless + free” workout t-shirt I once bought. (These days, the idea of those 3 things makes me laugh until I cry underneath a pile of unfolded laundry.) I am now vaguely fun, full of fear (momlife anxiety, anyone?) and… what is the opposite of free?
I purged and Marie Kondo’d and donated and Poshmarked 75% of the clothes I owned. IT WAS AMAZING. “Does this spark joy?” “Does it fit?” “Will I wear it this year?” If yes → keep. If no → Thank you for your service. Goodbye.
So what did I keep?
I kept the clothes that serve my body + life as it exists now—that make me feel beautiful, motherly and sophisticated.
I kept the yoga pants. ALL OF THEM.
The nursing bra that I can wear to a business meeting.
The investment pieces I feel amazing in: The perfect silk blouse I wore at a conference in Rome. The black dress that actually NEVER does me wrong.
The two pairs of pants that make me feel like an entrepreneur on a mission.
There are dramatically fewer “things” in my wardrobe now—and I love it.
I also gave myself permission to invest in a few, high quality items I adore.
My clothes work for me now.
My clothes do not have my permission to make me feel bad about myself.
I wouldn’t keep negative people in my life around who constantly whispered mean things in my ear. Why was I keeping clothes that were holding me back from embracing my busy, purposeful, full #momlife exactly as it is?
Perhaps my old wardrobe symbolized the freedom I had before kids. The stretch-mark free belly that I used to long for. The excitement of showing up to a vibrant office.
But my new life—full of tiny people, creative work and much more comfortable clothing—well, I like this new life just fine.
Maybe I’ll lose the rest of the baby weight. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll go back to work in an office. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll go clubbing with the girls in Miami—but honestly, it’s probably not going to happen.
Motherhood has transformed my life in a million wonderful ways. And now it’s transformed my wardrobe, too.